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World Music CD Reviews Europe


Published April 19, 2006

Ultimate Yanni
Windham Hill/BMG Heritage

Yanni Chryssomallis set the Greek freestyle swimming record at 14, before paddling about in currents of sound. Since 1984, with albums such as Dare To Dream, Keys To Imagination, and Live At The Acropolis, composer/keyboardist Yanni became a modern-day Sampson of sorts, New Age music success growing alongside his infamous hair. He’s considered the “first New Age artist,” if you don’t count Vangelis, Kitaro or Jean-Michel Jarre. Hanging out with Linda Evans and allying with Oprah helped, and his innocuous melodies were easily digestible (unless you happened to be lactose-intolerant); it was Yanni penning for the Olympics, tickling ivories at various landmarks and basking in the glow of PBS. Then perhaps he gave in to a trim, as it became quiet on the Yanni front—until now. Ultimate Yanni is his greatest hits collection, loaded with 24 songs on two CDs to catch you up, since he’s geared for a North American tour and new album. His cascading tresses are as long as ever.